Saturday, June 28, 2014

More Needlework

Knitting needles that is...

It seems if I don't have a paper craft to do, I pick out another knitting project to keep busy. Recently I've made a couple of pillows for the living room couch. Both are removable covers with button closures.

I LOVE cables!

After completing those in a few days, I decided my next project would be another scarf - one to wear over a shirt once the cooler weather returns. But first I had to figure out a way to wrap the wool I chose into a useable ball. You see, most yarn from a specialty shop comes in neat twisted skeins - they look so pretty on my shelf awaiting a project assignment! But unless you want a twisted mess, you can't knit directly from a skein.

Some people have yarn winders and swifts. I spotted an old wooden swift AND a beautiful spinning wheel at the antique mall - sadly they were too far out of my budget - and where the heck would I PUT a spinning wheel anyway? Nevertheless, they were awesome.

Some knitters use the backs of two chairs to pull their yarn taut. Yet others recruit a family member to hold out two hands whilst they wind...

So what did I do? I used my trusty laptop. I looped the wool around the screen and was able to wind it around a cardboard tube with ease!

I saved the tube from a roll of plastic wrap - it's more sturdy than a paper towel tube. I made sure the start of the wool stuck out so I could grab it once the yarn was wound around it.

Then I slid the wool off the tube, and voila! A center-pull ball that is perfect to knit from, doesn't get tangled or roll away like a regular ball of wool does. And with three cats, the less balls of yarn rolling about the floor, the better.

Here's what I made from two skeins of that Peruvian hand-dyed wool - another kerchief for the Fall. Meggie is kindly modelling for me yet again.

So now that this one is done, off to decide what to tackle next....

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tim Holtz Tags of 2014 - June

Another month nearly over, and another tag in just under the wire; I seem to be developing a pattern... Anyhoo, here is Tim's awesome June tag:

This month is all about watercolouring... with Distress! I was able to create June's tag without purchasing any new supplies - I gathered what I would need...

... and began. As usual, I was making two tags, one for me and one for The Scrapbook Cottage.

I used Tim's full sized Distress Ink pads instead of his new Minis (they are so cute!). I hope to add those to my supplies one day, but for now the regular will have to do. This made colouring the back of the Harlequin stencil a bit more difficult - I can see how the tiny pads would make this so much better - more colours in smaller patches. I used Broken China (blue), Evergreen Bough (green), Worn Lipstick (pink), Spun Sugar (light pink) and Dusty Concord (purple), tapping the pads onto the back and spritzing with my Mini Mister to activate the inks.

Tim mentioned that the amount of water spritzed to create this effect was a matter of choice to get the result you wanted. I know what he meant. The first (left side) monoprint had too little water. The second try was a lot better (on the right):

After cutting, tearing, inking the edges and adhering the backgrounds to my tags (made with Tim's Tag & Bookplates Bigz Die in my Cuttlebug), I inked the tags in Vintage Photo too. I love Tim's round Mini Ink Blending Tool... once I use a foam pad for a certain colour, I keep it with that pad to use over and over again. That way, all I need is the two handles and can whip the pads on and off the velcro base for each colour change.

Here's something else I do. When I want a clear, dark stamped image, I pull out a piece of fairly dense foam and place it under the paper I am stamping on. The extra cushion really helps achieve a great result! As Tim instructed, I stamped the images using Ranger's black Archival Ink.

I stamped the butterfly images again on another piece of cardstock and with my water brush, painted them in using the same Distress Inks colouring the background. Since I don't have his butterfly die set, I hand-cut the images and edged the fussy cuts with my Copic black Multi-liner. I used black foam dimensionals (cut in half) to pop up each butterfly atop it's counterpart on the tag for a 3D effect. Very cool!

I also used the same inks to colour my seam binding. Swiping the pads on the craft sheet, I spritzed with water and scrunched the ribbon up into it, using my embossing heat tool to dry it.

The addition of three gears and a game spinner and Viola! Done!

I LOVE the way the butterfly wings come off the tag.

The watercolour effect is lovely too...

Yep. I really like this month's tag. Easy and simply beautiful!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Special Occasions

April, May and June were all filled with many special occasions and my crafting supplies were being put to good use. Birthdays, Mother's Day and Father's Day... but I didn't share with you three other cards I made in the past few weeks.

For our 34th anniversary (!), I wanted to make hubby a masculine "time-themed" card. So I got out my Tim Holtz clock stencil, some gesso, inks, rub-ons and metal hardware.

This was my first attempt at using gesso, and I am very pleased at how it turned out! It was a lot of fun to add texture to the inked cardstock I had created in Tim's Creative Chemistry class a few months back.

No bows or flowers for this one! Just clocks, gears, metals and twine.

This next card was created for a co-worker's son who graduated this week. The tie is actually a white ribbon (I didn't have black!), dyed with black alcohol ink and covered with Claudine Hellmuth's Multi-Matte. I love the way it turned out! The cap is simply a piece of cardboard covered with black cardstock and popped up with black foam dimensionals. The tassel I found at the Dollar Store (a pack of six for a buck!) and was attached with a gold brad.

I was also called upon to provide for a not-so-special occasion... a co-worker tragically lost both her mother (expected) and a few days later, her husband (totally unexpected and sudden). Spellbinder's dies make it simple to create a distinguished card in black and white.

It seems like there is always a need for a card... the next one up on my "To Do" list will be for a niece's wedding in two weeks!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grandpa's Garden

For Father's Day, I decided I WOULDN'T make a homemade card for my Dad this year...

Instead, I made him a memory book!

Since he and my Mom recently moved from their home of 60 years, I thought he might like a keepsake of the beautiful garden he spent so many hours patiently tending. So after they moved but before the new owners took possession, I snapped a whole bunch of photos and snipped a few flowers and leaves to press.

At first, I made a book in the style similar to my Steampunk Journal, again following dear Anne (at Anne's Paper Creations) in her awesome instructional videos.

But when I started to add the photos, I realized it was much too small - I didn't want to drastically crop the images, so I set it aside for a future project and instead made a binder-style album with wider and taller pages.

Some photos were kept whole, some I fussy cut. I used Multi-Matte on the pressed flowers and leaves to preserve them. Tags and other embellishments were also added here and there in pockets and on flaps.

The beautiful iris on the cover is a fussy cut close up photo...

I also incorporated a few dimensional stickers and Tim Holtz die cuts. Graphic 45 papers from Botanical Tea and Secret Garden sets were perfect for backgrounds and beautiful tags / booklets.

I also used Tim's Remnant Rubs directly on the photos and tags - what a great (and easy!) way to accent the pages!

It took a few days to create; but I completed it with just hours to spare before gifting it Sunday afternoon (these are some - not all - of the pages inside).

It was so much fun to make.

My sister and I brought home a few plants from their garden to our our yards...

...and now Mom and Dad also have a piece of it too - and a book to remember it by as well!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's Like Wild Kingdom Out There

I have to share a non-artsy/craftsy subject with you today.

Our bedroom windows face a very large back yard where we planted a forest of trees 30 years ago. Other than mowing a few times a year, we leave it pretty much natural. Because of this, we seem to be the place to hang out for all sorts of wildlife (which I love).

I've written about a few of these encounters (here and on previous blogs linked below).

Most notably, we've had visits from

A huge Snapping Turtle we helped find its way back to the river

A Merlin Falcon perched just outside my window

Our resident bunnies who live under our deck
(and dine on my marigolds)

Red squirrels that entertain

A Fledgling Robin that thought I was it's mother...

Various geese, ducks, deer and even a slow muskrat have also wandered through.

Last week I observed yet another member of the Wild Kingdom had arrived for a short stay.

A Red Fox! I had to run for my camera.

Just like an episode of Wild Kingdom, it didn't take long for the action to begin. After a few minutes of sitting peacefully, the Fox spied a rabbit scurrying from it's hiding spot nearby.

The chase was on. The bunny darted left and right with the fox in full pursuit, matching each zig and zag until they both arrived at our deck, under which the bunny found safety. The Fox padded to and fro on our patio, mere feet away from me inside, ears pricked up by the sound of my clicking camera.

But the hunt wasn't over. Probably scared from the first bunny's abrupt arrival, the Fox spotted another rabbit dart out from under the other side of the deck. A few leaps and bounds later and it was all over. The Red Fox had dinner.

I felt awful for the poor bunny... but then I looked closely at the Fox. It was so terribly thin and matted; the result of the long, hard winter. I realized it must have been so hungry and desperate to venture this far from it's usual hunting grounds to find sustenance in a city suburb.

So as the Fox lopped away carrying it's precious treasure, I felt privileged to have witnessed the true Circle Of Life.

Right there in my own backyard.

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